Ep #: 6
Air date: Jan. 27th, 2014
Synopsis: Morty asks Rick for a love potion he can use to win Jessica’s heart.
Morty’s high school is having a flu-awareness dance, inappropriately during flu season. Morty nervously approaches Jessica to ask her out until the school’s star football player—Brad—steps in. As Jessica’s boyfriend, he makes it clear Morty has no shot with the likes of her.
Morty shares his woes with his father later that night. Jerry reassures him that in time, he’ll find plenty of other girls. Morty only wants Jessica though. Jerry relates, reminiscing that Beth was his “Jessica.” Rick ruins the moment, “kindly” reminding the two that it ended with Beth pregnant at seventeen. Rick breaks the ice with Morty, saying love is merely a chemical reaction that causes two people to breed. His marriage failed and he thinks the same will happen to Jerry and Beth. He tells Morty to break the cycle and dedicate his life to science. A cautious message from Rick, even if it was delivered with all the grace of a bowling ball being shot out of a T-shirt cannon. This is enough for Jerry to lose whatever confidence he has and leaves to check on his wife.
Morty approaches Rick at his garage, just in time for the latter to request a screwdriver for his latest invention. The love = chemical talk gave Morty the stupidest idea ever: he asks Rick if he can score a love potion. This request is so beneath Rick that he doesn’t even bother. A petulant Morty refuses to help Rick with any of his projects until he gets what he wants. Caught in a stalemate, Rick pulls out a vial filled with Oxytocin, secreted from voles becaue they mate for life. Mixing the potion with Morty’s DNA, he produces a chemical that the boy can use on anyone to instantly make that person fall in love with him permanently. Morty is ecstatic, but is smart enough to ask if there’s any side effect. Rick tells him it’s fine and Morty happily runs off. Then Rick mutters under his breath that it’ll only backfire if someone has the flu. Sometimes you wonder if he times these inconveniences on purpose.
Jerry confronts Beth and worriedly asks if she still loves him. Beth responds with scathing sarcasm, partially answering with a “sort of.” Beth is called in to work due to a race track accident that would leave Devin, her co-worker, by himself to operate on the horses. Stuck in the cusp of insecurity, Jerry comes to the conclusion that Beth and Devin might strike an affair behind his back.
At the school dance, Morty discreetly approaches Jessica, “accidentally” bumping into her and spreading the chemical on her arm. The love potion is a success, Jessica instantly ravishes Morty. Brad catches the two cuddling and breaks them off. Jessica unwittingly has the flu, coughing into Brad during the struggle, causing him to fall for Morty! Brad and Jessica get into a tug-o-war for Morty’s heart until Principal Vagina and Mr. Goldenfold takes the star player away. A desperate Brad cries for Morty in-between sneezes, spreading his germs into the air ducts and punch bowl. Morty has no idea what’s gotten into Brad, but who cares, he has Jessica!
Jerry confesses his insecurities to Summer, fearful his wife will cheat on him. Rick further encourages their separation, making no secret of his resentment towards his son-in-law. Desperate, Jerry runs out of the house to find Beth. Rick asks Summer why she isn’t at the dance. With flu season going around, Summer refuses to go out. Rick panicks, realizing Morty is doomed.
The love potion works a little too well: Jessica gets down on all fours and demands Morty mate with her. Morty is receptive, but he’d rather they do it somewhere private. Not that he isn’t aware something weird is going on, but by the time he puts two and two together, it’s too late. The love potion has spread so quickly the entire student body mobs Morty, declaring their love for him. Rick saves his life, unaffected by the flu/love potion. Thankfully, the chemical does not work on anyone sharing Morty’s genetics. They barely make it their ship when the potion hits everyone in the school, including the teachers.
Rick whips out praying mantis DNA to counter the Oxytocin. Since the species is known for cutting off their mate’s head, he figures this will cancel out the love potion. Instead it transforms them into horrifying human-mantis hybrids…who still wants Morty.
A severe car pile-up blocks Jerry’s path on the way to Beth’s work. The mantis DNA has spread through town and a small group of the affected attacks Jerry, demanding Morty. Determined to find his wife or so help him, Jerry picks up a dead cop’s rifle and blasts his way to the veterinarian. Meanwhile Summer has her own encounter with the creatures. She bashes one of them with a lamp and runs out the house. The Mantis love potion has now spread to the rest of the planet.
Morty watches the news, shocked his romantic evening veered WAY off course. Rick concocts another formula composed of several animals, plus a cactus and a dinosaur. Morty complains the potion makes no sense, but what does he know? He’s not a scientist.
Unaffected by the outside world, Beth and Devin wrap up a successful surgery. Jerry’s fears are confirmed, Devin does try to seduce Beth. Fortunately, Beth does not feel that way and is actually uncomfortable with his approach. Devin is hit with the flu during the tryst, transferring his lust to her son. He, too turns into a Mantis creature, trapping Beth until she forks over Morty. Jerry rescues Beth by beating Devin to death with a crow bar.
Though they have a new potion ready for use, Rick wants to delay it a bit since he’s fascinated by the mutated madness below. Morty doesn’t share his enthusiasm and unleashes the chemical, turning everyone back to normal. There’s still seven minutes left in the episode, so their victory is shortlived. Somehow “Rick Potion No.9” tops itself and makes the situation even worse, transforming the population into terrifyingly grotesque Cronenberg creatures. On the plus side, they’re not in love with Morty anymore.
Jerry and Beth fight the creatures side-by-side, reigniting their passion. Summer finds them, but there’s no sign of Morty or Rick. For once, Jerry tries not to pin the blame on Rick, but Beth angrily states her father has been the cause of all their problem. Their issues are resolved and it took an Apocalypse for them to deal with it.
Rick and Morty chew each other out, both with excellent points. Love Potion plots are inherently gross to begin with and unless that person learns a lesson, it’s hard to sympathize when they use what Rick accurately calls a “Roofie serum.” Rick rightfully criticizes Morty for being a little creep. In retaliation, Morty tells Rick that trying to fix the mess with disregard for safety isn’t any better. Rick is convinced enough to pull out his emergency chemical set.
And it works. The Cronenberg disaster is finally averted. Morty is impressed and willingly gives Rick the screwdriver so he can resume the work he was trying to do earlier.
Then they blow up and die.
Seconds later, the actual Rick and Morty we’ve been watching warp into the garage to witness the dead bodies of their alternate selves. Morty is in anguish. Rick explains that the universe has infinite alternate worlds. He just had to find one where a Rick and Morty cured Earth from the Cronenberg incident, then died shortly after. There, the Rick and Morty that are alive can then replace the dead ones. Rick tells Morty to grab his corpse so they can bury them and pretend everything is normal. This is the moment when I realized I would love Rick and Morty; this scene where it lampshades, deconstructs, subverts, and downright messes with typical sci-fi narratives. Traveling to meet another version of themselves have never been so demented and horrible than it is here. Knowing Rick can just swap out roles with another (even if it’s rare) with casual whimsy is a scary prospect. It makes you wonder if this is something he’s done before.
Morty buries his alternate form’s corpse, then with a heavy heart, walks back inside. Morty is caught between depression and surreality. His parents are fighting, Summer is watching TV, and Rick nonchalantly grabs a beer. Morty sits in stunned silence, unable to grasp the weight of his life and what had just occurred. Everything around him IS normal. His school, his room, his family – all of them are the same even if it isn’t quite so. The world of Rick is not a plaything even if Rick treats it as such. And Morty has to live with that.
The stinger concludes with Jerry, Beth, and Summer in the original world content with their new life in spite of the Cronenberg mess. Beth admits she misses Rick and Morty, but confesses she is much happier without either of them. Meanwhile, in another part of town, a Cronenberg Rick and Morty warp their way to this world with the same intent as the current Rick and Morty: they messed up their town, turning all the Cronenberg people there into regular humans, forcing them to flee and make a new life for themselves.